Olympus: Series pre-event news 2010-04-05

Olympus Rally Returns to Washington Coast Competition at the Olympus Rally gets hotter! Ocean Shores, WA (April 5, 2010) -- One of the most scenic events on the Rally America calendar promises to be one of its most competitive when round...

Olympus Rally Returns to Washington Coast
Competition at the Olympus Rally gets hotter!

Ocean Shores, WA (April 5, 2010) -- One of the most scenic events on the Rally America calendar promises to be one of its most competitive when round three of the Rally America National Championship takes place in Washington State's picturesque Olympic Peninsula on April 24-25.

The Olympus Rally includes mountain backdrops, temperate rain forests, and ocean views all of which will complement top national rally teams slipping, sliding and jumping along the peninsula's gravel roads at formidable speeds.

This year, however, two new teams have quietly joined the championship with the skills to win and that will stir up the competition at Olympus.

Canada's current rally champion and Canadian Subaru Rally Team driver Patrick Richard and Former Subaru Rally Team USA driver Ramana Lagemann have both entered the Olympus Rally. Both are former X Games competitors. The Richard and Lagemann teams aren't full time competitors in the Rally America Series but they are expected to steal points from teams that are. Richard and Lagemann will play a role in the 2010 championship. Both are expected to compete for overall podium finishes.

These two enter Olympus when points will be on everyone's mind, as the top four teams with the most points not already invited to the X Games will be one step closer to being invited to X Games competition. Last year's X Games medalists have already been invited back. Richard will be competing in the Open Class threatening the dominance of four-time defending champion Travis Pastrana and Ken Block, winner of February's 100 Acre Wood Rally in Missouri. Lagemann's presence will threaten the points spread that current Super Production Class leader, Travis Hanson, has secured after winning the Class in the first two events of the season.

There will be other small changes in this year's Olympus Rally. The headquarters has moved from the birthplace of Grunge Music in Aberdeen to the Ocean Shores Convention Center in Ocean Shores, Washington. But many of the competition roads will remain closer to the Pacific Coast, except for the addition of the mountainous Crane Creek Stage set more inland in the Olympic mountain range.

The Olympus Rally has been part of the Rally America calendar since 2007. It brings a rich rally history that's revered by Rally America fans. Olympus was part of the first U.S. Rally Championship in 1973 and hosted international teams in the World Rally Championship from 1986-1988 during the "Group B" years (light rally cars with big horsepower). Olympus actually hosted the last "Group B" event--the spirit of which still lingers in the gravel.

The Rally America Championship battle resumes after a month long break and fans will be given the opportunity to meet their favorite drivers making headlines across the world.

* The Monster World Rally Team and driver Ken Block will be returning to the U.S. from their international rally racing debut in Mexico and Turkey. Block is also coming off his fifth 100 Acre Wood Rally win in Missouri back in February.

* X Games athletes and Subaru Rally Team USA drivers, Travis Pastrana and Dave Mirra, will be waiting to make a statement at Olympus after uncharacteristically not finishing on the podium at the 100 Acre Wood Rally.

* Consistency by drivers Antoine L'Estage and Bill Bacon has them leading the Rally America Championship after the first two rounds of the season. L'Estage, a former Canadian and North American champion, leads the standings. Bacon, a firefighter from Massachusetts, is in second. Both are still looking for an overall rally win to validate their threat as championship competitors.

* In the 2 Wheel Drive Class, Chris Duplessis will look for his third victory in a row. He currently leads his class driving a 20-year-old 1990 Volkswagen GTI that consistently beats newer cars with twice the horsepower.

Before the Olympus Rally on Thursday there will be a public charity function, located at the Pacific Grand Prix (www.pacificgp.com), a karting facility on the grounds of Pacific Raceways in Kent. The charity function will be in support of the Ronald McDonald House. Press stages will also be open to the public on Thursday allowing fans and media another opportunity to catch the rally action first hand. There will be two Parc Exposes where fans can get up close and personal with teams and drivers. They will be held on Saturday, April 24 at 8:00am and Sunday, April 25 at 7:00am in Ocean Shores, WA.

Olympus is a very tight and technical rally that can dismember a competitor's car with lots of elevation changes, hidden logs, large rocks, and tire slicing sharp gravel. The weather is very unpredictable along the coast and drivers must prepare for either dry dusty roads or the infamous spring rains of the coastal Northwest.

It looks like 2010 Olympus will be a clash of Titans in North American rally with names like Block, Pastrana, L'Estage, Bacon, Mirra, Comrie-Picard, Hanson, Richard, and Lagemann.

Event schedules, team entries, and a (soon to be available) spectator guide complete with driving directions can be located at: rally-america.com/events/2010/Olympus/

Top teams in the Series are also invited to compete in the Summer X Games 16 Rally Car Racing event, the leading action sports event broadcast live on ABC and ESPN.

-source: rally america

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About this article
Series Other rally
Drivers Travis Pastrana , Antoine L'Estage , Patrick Richard , Ken Block , Dave Mirra , Chris Duplessis